I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Finding Paris by Joy Preble
Published by Baltzer + Bray, Harper Collins, HarperTeen on April 21, 2015
Genres: Coming of Age, contemporary, Family, mystery/thriller, realistic fiction, Romance, Social Issues, tough issues, Young Adult
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon| Buy on Book Depository| Buy on Barnes & Noble
An evocative and compelling story of two sisters who would do anything for each other--perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Speak. Joy Preble's stirring new novel explores the lengths to which sisters go to protect each other, and the winding road that brings two strangers into each other's lives.
Sisters Leo and Paris Hollings have only ever had each other to rely on. They can't trust their mother, who hops from city to city and from guy to guy, or their gambler stepfather, who's moved them all to Las Vegas. It's just the two of them: Paris, who's always been the dreamer, and Leo, who has a real future in mind--going to Stanford, becoming a doctor, falling in love. But Leo isn't going anywhere right now, except driving around Vegas all night with her sister.
Until Paris ditches Leo at the Heartbreak Hotel Diner, where moments before they had been talking with physics student Max Sullivan. Outside, Leo finds a cryptic note from Paris--a clue. Is it some kind of game? Where is Paris, and why has she disappeared? When Leo reluctantly accepts Max's offer of help, the two find themselves following a string of clues through Vegas and beyond. But the search for the truth is not a straight line. And neither is the path to secrets Leo and Max hold inside.
I have to say that I was drawn to this book before I even knew what it was by two things: 1) the fact that it was written by Joy Preble and 2) the cover. However, after reading what the book was about, I knew it was something I was just going to have to pick up. I got to meet Preble in 2014 and she was just a really nice, funny person. I loved her personality and it made me pick up her Sweet, Dead Life series pretty quickly. Finding Paris was such a completely opposite word from SDL that I found myself wondering how well she could do genre swapping.
And the answer is fantastically. This book is series, dark at times, and anxiety-ridden (for me anyway). You WANT to know what is happening and you clearly are only getting small bits of information at a time. Everything is not what it seems and everyone seems to have a secret in their back pocket. I pride myself on figuring out plot twists, general surprise events, and foreshadowing. And several things I did figure out in this book early on. However, the foreshadowing is done in a subtle way that allows you to not get hung up on it at the time, but to look back when you find out everything and say, “Hey… I totally see why this happened.” It isn’t a shock… well, it is, but it isn’t something that you were left unprepared for by the author.
I read a lot of reviews for this book prior to, during, and after my own read. I can see why a lot of people loved it and a lot of people just were not a fan of how things ended up. I fell in the category of those who loved it. While I was shocked because it wasn’t a conclusion I ever saw coming, it made complete sense. It made my heart ache and I just had so many emotions for these people that don’t actually exist. I did not think it was something used for shock value, but evocative of this particular phenomenon. This seemed true to how people process and eventually hide or share what has happened. I do not feel like it was used and not dealt with, I thought that the journey to that point was more important than the dealing with it. That was another story for Leo and Paris, and this conclusion worked for this story.
However, I felt like the last few chapters were choppy. For 3-4 chapters, I kept thinking it was the end, only to have another chapter pop up. And each seemed clumsy and not well put together from one to the next. I understand that Preble wanted these things for the character, but I wish it would have flowed better, because it kind of took me from the high of a 5 star book. And it is for that reason my review is half a star lower.
This book is one that took me on a journey. The characters might have been on a road trip, but I was also flying through the desert, visiting the Santa Monica pier, and seeing Las Vegas through someone else’s eyes. Even if I never go there, the details Preble used brought the place to life for me.
The writing in this book is superb. It will keep you going, fueling your need to know what is happening. This book is surprising, took some bold steps and made some choices that kept me guessing the whole way through. If you don’t mind tough issues and want a good mystery, this road tripping book might just be for you!
Enter to win:
Must be 13 years of age or older | Contest open Internationally unless otherwise stated